Bottled Nose Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus)
Guinea-Bissau has an annual export quote of 20 Tursiops truncatus only, however we also work with other export countries too.
How do we Capture Dolphins?
The Dolphin including Official duties, Charter Transport, Capturing and so on is very expensive for the buyer. This means, they don't want "any" Dolphin, they want only animals that will not be problematic to keep. For all Dolphin exports we hire a specialist team for capture, a dolphin trainer as well as a specialist Marine Mammals veterinarian who will also travel with the Dolphins to their final destination. We take only young animals which are about to leave the group.
Between capturing and Transportation (About 4 weeks), we keep them in swimming cages where the trainer teaches them to feed by hand. If there are more than one Dolphin in the pool we can't just drop 50 kilos of fish in as some will eat 20 kilos and some nothing. To control this they have to learn to feed from the hand of the trainer. Animals which refuse to be hand fed are released. About 2 in every 20 will not be able to learn to eat from the hand.
The capturing is directly made by two boats which surround the group with a net. The dolphins will never jump over this net. Here we look for one or two perfect specimens, the rest are released. River Zoo Farm has never had a death of a Dolphin during capture, acclimatization or export.
The Legal Status of Tursiops truncatis
The most common species of Dolphins in Oceanariums are the Bottle-nosed Dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) which many people will know from the "Flipper" Movie. There are reasons why this species is preferred. They are easy to keep, easy adapt to captivity, easy to train and they are only CITES II. This species is extremely common in all oceans. Alone About 10,000 of them in Guinea-Bissau. All real conservationists are of the same opinion to take less than 1% will not be a problem for the population. The big problem faced by Dolphins are fishing nets, every year about 300,000 dolphins are getting killed accidentally. They are also hunted for food by native people.
Behaviour of Tursiops and keeping them in captivity
Many Movies like "Free Willy" or "Flipper" are suggesting these animals are like Humans with Human intelligence and emotions. We hear many stories of Dolphins and Whales saving people in the open sea but on the other side of the coin we will never know about the people who got dragged out to sea by them. Some years ago the Navy was trying to use them as "Solider's" to carry bombs to submarines. But they soon found out that Tursiops are just to stupid to be trained in this way. They are able to learn some tricks that are close to their natural playful behaviour but nothing else. The trainer has to cover this in his show which looks like a ballet show, but this is the skill of the trainer not the dolphins. For example when they where making Free Willy 2 the production team didn't use live Orca's like they did in the first movie as it was too complicated to train the orca to do small things. The Boy in the film was unable to go in the pool with the Orca as it would attack him so a stunt-girl was needed. So for the second movie they used plastic robotic orcas, similar to the dinosaurs in Jurassic park. Everyone who is working with real Dolphins and Whales comes to the same conclusion: They are nice and friendly animals, they become tame very fast but they are not anymore intelligent then a dog for example.
In the wild the young live in family groups for about two year before leaving to start there own group. This is the time they are captured for Zoos. Today an Oceanariums for Whales and Dolphins is not just a pool with some animals in. They are living facilities encouraging Tursiops to reproduce in captivity. As much as we know about animal emotions, the dolphins seem very happy in these facilities. In the wild they have food, partners but many dangers. With the exceptions of the dangers they have all this in captivity to and are kept busy by training.
Don't forget they are animals not humans. For example one of the problems we have at River Zoo Farm is that we are in the middle of the bush. So many wild animals enter our farm to search for food and since there is good supply of food, shelter and very few predators they tend not to leave, so we are surrounded many lots of semi tame animals who co-live with us. So we have agamas running around our feet eating the ants, Birds stealing food while your eating it and Squirrels eating the plants we are growing.
Price and Conditions
These are depending on the quantity and the agreements we come to. But please be aware, Dolphins have to be transported on a charter plane and accompanied by trained staff till they reach the destination.
- Hans Jörg Schuhmann jr. is responsible for the proper transport of big animals. E.g. Dolphins by charter plain -
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